New ‘pink’ wines are anything but boring
Rosé or blanc de noir is great on balmy summer days
At the end of the day, although some avoid it like the plague, it’s a low-hanging fruit and, happily, there are plenty of fish in the sea and a lid for every pot.
Like the paragraph above, pink wine easily becomes a cliché – associated with spring and summer, and ladies-who-lunch, light and insubstantial, not to be taken too seriously; real wine lovers don’t drink pink, and so on.
It’s a cliché partly because it’s true – rosé or blanc de noir is great on balmy summer days and, to turn those clichés back into plain English, it’s an easy-pleasing wine with lots of choices, and there really is something to suit just about everyone.
Pink wine can be either a blend of a red and a white wine, or made from red wine grapes with minimal skin contact to achieve the pretty salmon and coral pink shades – the latter officially a blanc de noir, “white from red”.
There are the easy crowd pleasers, tending to the sweeter side, light and happy fruity stuff that goes well with summery salads and any occasion, and easy to find under 40 or 50 bucks.
With quality in this category in South Africa improving, there are also a good few to be considered in the “serious” wine class as more and more winemakers pay attention to growing, harvesting and processing grapes specifically with a pink wine in mind, some striving to emulate the premium dry rosés of the south of France.
You can try this style out in Domaine Grier French Rosé (R85 at Woolies) – a blend of grenache and carignan with the crisp minerality and delicate fruit characteristic of pink wines from the south of France.
It is really good and an interesting contrast to SA pinks.
Or take it up several notches with the Jean Roi Cap Provincial Rosé from Anthonij Rupert – a slightly eye-watering R290 – but it’s definitely a serious pink, subtle, elegant and luxurious, and a wonderful treat.
Moving closer to reality for most of us, the impressive Flagstone Poetry Cinsault Rosé, winner of a Michelangelo double gold, is a win at R55 for those who like their pink wine with a dash of substance.
It has fresh, berry-fruitiness with richness, and a nice subtle lick of the savouriness and spice expected from cinsault.
Similarly, the 2018 rosé from Vondeling, with its perfumed nose of roses and tropical fruit leading into a rich mouthful of berries with a touch of cream, tempered by some zesty notes, delivers intense flavours and a lingering finish that lift it above the ordinary (currently on special at Makro for R59).
As part of the revival of the Roodeberg brand, it has launched a fresh and easy-drinking summery rosé (R75 at Pick n Pay) – an all-round crowd-pleaser with a lush, fragrant nose, loads of berries and peaches, and a touch of spice to lift the sweetness of the fruit.
So, while one should try to avoid boring clichés in writing and speech, there are plenty of pink wines out there that are anything but.